Melamine

What is Melamine?

Melamine (chemical formula: C3H6N6), is a divided solid typically found as a white crystalline powder. It is slightly soluble in water and hot alcohol. It lies in the neutral range of pH and has a faint odour. 

What is Melamine used for?

When combined with formaldehyde, melamine resin products can be manufactured into products such as dinnerware and laminate flooring. Other products that can be created from melamine include; foams (insulation, magic erasers), concrete, fire retardant and cabinets to name a few.

Melamine is used to produce dinnerware items such as bowls, plates and utensils. 
Melamine is used to produce dinnerware items such as bowls, plates and utensils.  

Melamine Hazards

The routes of exposure for melamine include; inhalation, ingestion and skin and eye contact. 

Inhalation of melamine dusts may produce respiratory discomfort and distress. Those suffering with existing impaired respiratory function (emphysema or chronic bronchitis), kidney damage or circulatory/nervous system damage, may incur further disability if excessive concentrations are inhaled. 

Ingestion of melamine in higher concentrations can cause kidney damage as well as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Melamine is not considered to be a skin irritant, however abrasive damage can result from prolonged exposure. Entry into the bloodstream through open cuts or wounds can also cause other harmful effects. 

Eye exposure may cause transient discomfort, redness and slight abrasive damage.

Melamine Safety

If inhaled, remove the patient from the contaminated area to the nearest fresh air source. Lay the patient down and keep them warm and rested. If the patient is not breathing and you are qualified to do so, perform CPR, preferably with a bag-valve mask device. Seek medical attention.

If swallowed, do not induce vomiting. If vomiting occurs, lean the patient forward or place on their left side to avoid aspiration. Observe the patient carefully and give water to rinse their mouth out as well as provide liquid slowly and as much as they can comfortably drink. Seek medical attention. 

If skin exposure occurs, immediately remove all contaminated clothing and footwear and flush the affected area with plenty of running water and soap. Leather items that have been contaminated with the chemical, such as shoes and belts etc., should be removed and destroyed. Seek medical attention if irritation persists. 

If the chemical is exposed to the eyes, flush the eyes out immediately with fresh running water for at least 15 minutes, remembering to wash under the eyelids. Removal of contact lenses should only be done by a skilled individual. Transport to hospital without delay. 

Melamine Safety Handling

Emergency eyewash fountains should be accessible in the immediate area of the potential exposure to the chemical and there should always be adequate ventilation to remove or dilute any air contaminants (install local exhaust if necessary). 

The PPE recommended when handling melamine includes; safety glasses with side shields, chemical goggles, half face respirators, PVC gloves, PVC aprons, protective suits and safety boots. Skin barrier and cleansing creams are also recommended in the event of skin exposure.

For more information on how to handle melamine safely, refer to your SDS. Click here for a trial of our SDS Management Software or contact us at sales@chemwatch.net for more information about our chemicals management solutions.